When Myles McCorry and Andy Layhe launched Bike Pure, which campaigns for a clean future for cycle sport, a little over 12 months ago, meeting heads of state was the last thing on their minds – but that’s exactly what happened last night as they picked up a Social Entrepreneurs Award in Dublin from Irish President Mary McAleese.
The Bike Pure founders were among 31 social entrepreneurs honoured at the ceremony, each picking up awards ranging from €6,000 to €80,000, sponsored by National Toll Roads. McAleese hailed the recipients as ““people who do not wait for others to tackle problems but acknowledge their own responsibility and create their own opportunities not for selfish but for unselfish reasons and outcomes.”
It’s been a whirlwind 12 months for the pair, who came up with the concept after years of disillusionment about the impact of doping on the sport, deciding to take matters into their own hands following a series of failed tests during last year’s Tour de France.
Since the launch of its website, Bike Pure has signed up more than 20,000 members in over 80 countries worldwide, including pro cyclists such as Tour of Ireland winner Russ Downing, Vuelta Stage winner Phillip Deignan and AG2R’s Nico Roche.
McCorry says that the award will help Bike Pure, which is set up as a not-for-profit charity and relies on donations from members, to fund its operations for the next three years and that Social Entrepreneurs Ireland will also play a vital role in providing business advice and support.
The profile that Bike Pure has gained through championing the cause of clean riders within cycling, which is now subject to the most rigorous testing regime of any sport, means that it has been approached by participants in other sports, such as swimming, where a host of world records were set in August’s FINA World Championships in Rome.
Many put those performances down to the latest generation of skinsuits worn by many swimmers, but as McCorry points out, those were also used at the Beijing Olympics and the improvement in times cannot be explained by those alone, adding that unlike in cycling, testing for prohibited substances in swimming does not extend to taking and analysing blood samples.
McCorry acknowledges that adapting the Bike Pure plan to other sports is a possibility in the future, but for now the focus remains very firmly on cycling and, in the immediate future, compiling and publishing Cyclesport 2.0, Bike Pure’s member-led initiative to provide a blueprint for the sport’s future.
Bike Pure supporters can buy a range of merchandise to show their commitment to a clean sport, including jerseys, headset spacers and wristbands, all in Bike Pure’s signature blue, and now socks are also available, courtesy of SockGuy.com.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.